Dutch researchers offer insight into nanolasers for photonics




Scientists at TU Delft have developed a method to analyze what is happening within nanolasers. Because small changes in nanolasers can have relatively large effects, the invention is important for photonics.

The expectation is that photonics will play a major role in the future. By using light instead of electrons for communication at the chip level, components can become smaller, more efficient and faster. Nanolasers can serve as light sources. They consist of light-emitting material and are often no larger than the wavelength of light, around 500 to 800 nanometers.

The problem is that they are surrounded by metal, which scientists can not see through. For research it is important to be able to analyze what is going on in the nanolasers, because the position of the material within the laser influences the efficiency.

“Until now, scientists are dependent on the output of the laser, but they do not see the cause of fluctuations, as the nanolaser was in fact a black box”, says Jacob Hoogenboom of Imaging Physics, a department of the Delft Faculty of Applied Sciences, Tweakers. Together with his team he uses an electron beam to strike the material in the nanolaser.

“We have placed a light microscope in an electron microscope with the electron microscope, which allows us to focus much smaller than with light, shooting pulses of electrons in the area of ​​15 nanometers in the laser, where the speed of the electrons determines the depth at which we penetrate the material The electrons store the phosphor material to generate light, similar to how the electron tube of old TVs lights up, then we measure how long it takes for the light to come out of the nanolaser, we do so with a photon detector. ”

Where it takes a relatively long time for the photons to be detected, you do not want to place any material in the design of a nanolaser. By analyzing nanolasers in this way, the scientists also discovered that a difference of only 50 nanometers in the diameter of the laser can lead to large variations in the functioning of the lasers. “This can help researchers design and produce efficient nanolasers, we now know how important it is to position active material very precisely, and we also see that the size of the laser is crucial.”

The researchers will publish their work in an article called Nanoscale Imaging or Light-Matter Coupling Inside Metal-Coated Cavities with a Pulsed Electron Beam in the scientific publication Nano Letters.

TU Delft microscopy by a metal layer
TU Delft microscopy by a metal layerTU Delft microscopy by a metal layerTU Delft microscopy by a metal layerTU Delft microscopy by a metal layer
Images through the American Chemical Society.


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